Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier earned pairs gold in Montpellier ©Getty Images

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier became the United States’ first pairs gold medallists since 1979 at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships.

The American pairing finished sixth at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics last month, but were the highest-ranked pairing from the Games participating at the Fédération Française des Sports de Glace in Montpellier.

Two Chinese pairings, including Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, were absent while Russian skaters are banned due to the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

Knierim and Frazier led an American one-two in the short programme, with compatriots Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc less than a point behind.

The free skate saw Knierim and Frazier also achieve the highest score, earning 144.21 to finish the competition with a winning total of 221.09.

The US last won the event in 1979, when Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner emerged as the winners.

Cain-Gribble and Leduc were forced to withdraw from the free skate, after the former fell twice in the routine.

Cain-Gribble hit her head on the ice after falling for the second time, leading to the withdrawal.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara finished as the silver medallists on 199.55 points overall, after scoring 127.97 in the free skate.

Canada’s Vanessa James and Eric Radford rose from fifth in the short programme to win bronze.

The pairing scored 130.78 points in the free skate to finish with an overall total of 197.32.

Shoma Uno leads the men's singles event after the short programme ©Getty Images
Shoma Uno leads the men's singles event after the short programme ©Getty Images

Japanese skaters occupy the top three positions at the halfway stage of the men’s singles event, which have been deprived of three-time reigning champion Nathan Chen, due to the American suffering from injury.

Olympic bronze medallist Shoma Uno leads the competition after scoring 109.63 points with his short programme routine.

Yuma Kagiyama, who finished as the silver medallist at Beijing 2022, lies second in the standings on 105.69.

Kazuki Tomono completes the all-Japanese top-three on 101.12, with American skater Ilia Malinin fourth on 100.16.

Competition will continue tomorrow with the women’s singles event concluding and the start of the ice dance.

The ISU earlier in the day offered an apology and replaced its World Championship commentators for an insulting comment aimed after Canada’s Meagan Duhamel.

Simon Reed had called Duhamel "that bitch from Canada" at the end of yesterday’s pairs broadcast, with fellow British commentator Nicky Slater heard laughing.

Duhamel had criticised their commentary of the World Championships.

"There is no place for harassing and abusive language or remarks and behaviour in sport and our society," the ISU said.

"The ISU took instant action with its service provider to suspend both commentators with immediate effect and neither will cover any future Figure Skating events for the ISU."

Duhamel wrote on Twitter that she had received personal apologies from Reed and ISU President Jan Dijkema.

"Skating Twitter, I hope we all enjoy some amazing skating today," she wrote.

"I have received personal apologies from Simon Reed and the ISU president and I don’t think a public apology is necessary at this point.

"I appreciate and respect their apologies."